Greg Rusedski, the top seed, and the rest of the British under-achievers bowed out of the Surbiton Trophy in damp Surrey yesterday.
Britain's Canadian-born No 2 lost in only 85 minutes of a delayed first-round clash in the Surbiton Trophy Tournament, a shock victim of Italian Daniele Bracciali in two sets, both decided by tie-breaks.
A 7-6, 7-6 first-round reverse piled another statistic on the list of Rusedski's failures this year. He has only twice reached the second round of an event and his recent tour sequence is won eight, lost ten.
Yet the genial 6ft 4in lefthander said: "I'm quite happy with the way it went. Everybody could see how well he (Bracciali) played and it was a useful work-out for me. I've had some tough draws lately in tournaments but maybe I'll get a bit more luck next week at Queen's and then Stoke Park and Wimbledon."
Although his results would suggest a moderate year, Rusedski entered this event world-ranked 39th despite meeting Roger Federer (twice), American ace Andy Roddick and Tim Henman.
Like the other British players who view the grass as their brief chance each year to impart some damage on superior talents, he did not find it quite so attractive after it had been uncovered in the rain.
Only 30 minutes play had been possible in a handful of other matches the previous day and Rusedski said: "They were terrible conditions out there but I'm not going to blame the courts. I have just run into a player who played so well and handled them extremely well."
The 25-year-old came into this event ranked a respectable 142 and soon showed why, serving 12 aces - and four double faults.
But Rusedski still had chances to establish command before losing the first-set tiebreak 7-4.
It was a similar story in the second where Rusedski looked certain to at least take the match into a decider, leading 5-3 until a Bracciali backhand clipped the net and dropped in.
Rusedski, a quarter-finalist here last year, then served a double fault and Bracciali took full advantage to close out the tie-break 7-5.
But there can be little doubt that Rusedski still has burning ambition, although he announced he would not take part in the Nottingham Open in two weeks, preferring to stay in London after the Stella Artois Tournament at Queen's.
Jamie Delgado scored a fine 6-3, 6-4 win over experienced Brazilian Andre Sa before losing in straight sets, to Bracciali, joining firstround losers Jonathan Marray and Alan Mackin.
The British women fared no better. Domestic No 1 Elena Baltacha won the first set of her left-over secondround meeting with Puerto Rican Vilmarie Castellvi but lost 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Anne Keothavong, the Laos-born former British No 1, had to retire at 6-3, 3-1 against another American fourth seed Laura Granville feeling pain in the knee on which she had cruciate ligament surgery last July.
Keothavong vowed to play in the DFS Classic at Edgbaston next week after her physio told her the knee needs only rest.
Amanda Janes lost 6-2, 7-5 to second seed Kristina Brandi while Rebecca Llewellyn went out 6-3, 6-3 to Venezuela ' s Milagros Sequera.
Top seed and former winner Tamarine Tanasugarn crashed 6-1, 7-5 to American Jamea Jackson.